The highlights of this cycling holiday are Weerribben-Wieden National Park and the colourful tulip fields of Flevoland. For some cultural history we have also included popular Giethoorn, the village with no roads.
A large part of the route traverses the Noordoostpolder. The polder was drained in 1942 and lies six meters below sea level. The lay-out of the polder was designed in the 1940s and 1950s with Emmeloord as the regional center and ten smaller villages within cycling distance. The vast agricultural region was given straight roads and canals. The 20,000-hectare bulb flower fields of the Noordoostpolder specialize in tulips.
Your cycling holiday starts in Lelystad, the capital of Flevoland. Lelystad is named after Cornelis Lely, the engineer of the Zuiderzee Works. The town is located in East Flevoland, a polder that was reclaimed in 1957. In 1967 the first inhabitants came to Lelystad - pioneers, we called them, their houses standing in the mud of the former seabed. In Batavialand Museum, you can find out more about the ZuiderZee Works. Furthermore, you can visit Batavia Shipyard where replicas of historical sailing ships are constructed. Take a guided tour of a replica of a carrier from the 17th century.
Lelystad is also known for Bataviastad, a fashion outlet center. The welcoming center was designed with a West Indian colonial settlement in mind: traditional Dutch style buildings with a splash of Caribbean colour. It houses 150 factory fashion outlets with well-known brands.
South of town is a nature reserve called Oostvaardersplassen (closed to the public). After South Flevoland polder was drained, this corner of the polder was not taken into development. Soon nature took hold on the former seabed, birds arrived, and species-rich grassland habitats developed. Later, wild Konik horses, heck cattle and red deer were brought in to graze the area and keep it wide open. In 2009, it was designated a Natura 2000 area: The many bird species, including the rare white-tailed eagle, are now protected by European Law.
After a hearty breakfast, mount your bikes and set off! Fields of potatoes, beets, onions, wheat and other agricultural products are interspersed with fields of tulips and other spring flowers. Near the village of Swifterbant, enter an area that lies five meters below sea level. Next cross Ketelbrug into the Noordoostpolder, drained in 1942. Your first stop is the picturesque town of Urk, formerly an island in the Zuiderzee. The Urkers, being islanders, were a traditionally isolated and introspective community. Even today, they are close-knit and the most devoutly Protestant municipality in the Netherlands. The men of Urk work hard as fishermen or in the fish processing industry so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to enjoy delicious fresh fish at a restaurant by the harbour. As the only historical town in the Noordoostpolder, it boasts narrow cobbled streets and cute little houses. After Urk, get back on your bikes to cycle along the shore of glistening IJsselmeer, the former Zuiderzee. Then proceed through the beautiful heart of flower bulb cultivation in the Noordoostpolder, around Espel, Creil and Rutten. End the day in Friesland province. In touristic Lemmer, one of the most famous northern water sports resorts, enjoy a well-earned rest.
Short-cut: From Urk it is also possible to take an 8 km shorter route directly to Espel.
Today you will again cycle past beautiful tulip fields. After the woods of Kuinderbos you can opt for a detour to Orchideeënhoeve Zoo in Luttelgeest: The various exotic animals, butterflies, flowers and tropical gardens are well-worth a visit. The route continues past many bulb flower fields along the border with Overijssel province. Both the villages of Blokzijl and Vollenhove used to stand on the shore of the Zuiderzee. Today, instead of sea they have the Noordoostpolder on their doorstep. But you can still visit Blokzijl harbour with its lovely old houses and warehouses. On the way to Vollenhove, stop off at A. A. F. Stroïnk, a steam-powered pumping station that drained the polder in the age of steam.
Day 3 Option B: Lemmer – Vollenhove, through the National Park
Alternative route for nature lovers: Instead of touring the tulip fields in the Noordoostpolder, cycle to Weerribben-Wieden National Park. Have you booked a 5-day trip skipping day 4? This alternative route will still allow you to visit the famous village of Giethoorn.
After soaking up the atmosphere in historical Vollenhove, set off for Giethoorn, known – tongue in cheek – as Venice of the North. If you are in for some fun, join the tourists cruising down the main canal in electric boats. Not all tourists are experienced navigators so comical collisions do occur! Alternatively, take the footpath. What is there to see in this village? Old farmhouses with thatched roofs and well-maintained gardens; painted wooden footbridges; local history museum ‘t Olde Maat Uus; and boatyards where punters are made.
Furthermore, on today’s unforgettable route, you will explore the southern part of the National Park, i.e. De Wieden. Lakes include Beukelakerwijde and Belterwijde. All stages of ecological succession can be seen in De Wieden, from open water to reed beds, to dry (grass)land, to woods. Talking of succession, in De Wieden you can come across places where you can jump up and down on a springy floating mat of bog vegetation: quaking bog! Another unique and wonderful experience is cycling past hay lands full of wildflowers. Finally, villages on today’s route include Dwarsgracht, Belt-Schutsloot and Zwartsluis with its historical harbour.
Short-cut: skip Belt-Schutsloot and Zwartsluis (44 km)
The highlight of the day is Schokland, a strip of land 4 km long and 400 meters wide with an eventful history. It was inhabited for 10,000 years. Initially, it was part of the mainland. Around 1450 it became an island in the Zuiderzee. By 1795, it is known that 650 people lived there, in poor housing. Over time, bit by bit, the island crumbled into the encroaching sea forcing the islanders to retreat to the highest three dwelling mounds. Being islanders, they lived in great isolation. Nonetheless, the inhabitants of the northern half of the island, Catholics, did not mingle with the Protestants on the southern half. They even spoke different dialects! Life on Schokland ended abruptly in 1859 when the last inhabitants were forcibly evacuated because their drinking water had become saline and their homes unfit to live in. After the creation of the Noordoostpolder, Schokland was incorporated into the surrounding polderland. Because of its bizarre history, Schokland has come to symbolize the Netherlands’ battle against the water. In Schokland Museum, geological, archaeological and historical objects paint a picture of Schokland and its inhabitants going back to prehistoric times.
After days of cycling in the fresh air, you will undoubtedly sleep well. After a delicious breakfast, your cycling holiday will come to an end. Return home feeling fulfilled.
|Double room, breakfast||495.00|
|Single room, breakfast||645.00|
|Extra night (breakfast only)||70.00|
|Bike Breakdown pass||€ 2.75 x 5||13.75|
|Child seat||€ 5.00 x 5||25.00|
|Bike theft insurance||€ 3.00 x 5||15.00|
|E-bike theft insurance||€ 6.00 x 5||30.00|
|Theft insurance premium bike||€ 6.00 x 5||30.00|
|Extra luggage||€ 5.00 x 5||25.00|
|Add on bike||€ 6.00 x 5||30.00|
|Child trailer||€ 17.50 x 5||87.50|
|Bike helmet||per piece||10.00|
Below are the accommodations that we book as standard for this trip. They are carefully selected by us for cyclists. All rooms have a shower or bath and toilet. If one of the hotels is fully booked, we will reserve a comparable alternative.
Lelystad - Hotel de Lange Jammer ***
Lemmer - Hotel Lemmer ***
Vollenhove - Stadspaleis OldRuitenborgh ***
If you don’t bring your own, you can rent a bicycle from us. Our touring bikes are 24-speed gear. You can find all the information regarding our rental bikes below.
You will find your rental bikes waiting for you at your first hotel. The hotel reception staff will give you the keys for your bikes and direct you to the bicycle shed. All bikes are provided with chain locks.
5 Nights included
3/4 Star Hotels
Tourist tax included
Detailed roadbooks with maps and tourist information
The possibility of renting our bikes
7-days a week service-hotline
Luggage transport to your next hotel
Parking possibilities at the hotel
Any ferry crossings are not included